Thee Spivs ‘Black And White Memories’ – review

Thee Spivs “Black And White Memories”
Damaged Goods Records (DAMGOOD 383)
CD/LP/DL ”“ Available 14th November 2011

Second album from London based Thee Spivs, the follow up to the critically acclaimed 2010 released “Taped Up”

”ËœBlack And White Memories’ demonstrates the progress the band has made since they burst onto the punk scene; thankfully progress does not translate into the dreaded genre exploration ”“ there’s no real sound experimentation here, Thee Spivs stick to a basic yet highly effective formula of three chord 77′ era punk rock, with flourishes of hot rod fuelled garage rock ”Ëœn’ roll ”“ think early lo-fi Buzzcocks / Toy Dolls, and you won’t be too far off the mark.

‘Black And White Memories’ was both recorded and produced by Ed Deegan (The Cribs, Holly Golightly) at Gizzard Studios. Deegan has clearly managed to retain the original Spivs sound though he has been able to allow them to display their influences, without them loosing sight of what they are about.

Opening track ”ËœWe See Red’ lets you know exactly where this album is going ”“ deceptively simple songs, based around guitar, bass and drum adorned with shouty vocals, however Thee Spivs are acutely aware of the limitations of such and counter this by shoe horning into every track hook laden melodies, coupled with spiky choruses ”“ and keeping everything to a sub 2 minute length.

The guitars demand that you leap about in the vein hope of recreating those clips of The Roxy in the summer of 77′. Front man Ben Edge covers such themes as girlfriends, work, boredom and school; school is covered in the hilarious ”ËœFlicking V’s’ ”“ nihistic majesty; even the subject matter is in homage to the initial wave of punk! ”ËœTV Screen’ has been lifted as the first single (7” 14th Nov) and begins with a lone acoustic guitar, before building in pace, some really neat vocal phrasing and rabble shout-a-long chorus. During ”ËœJealous Friend’ their garage roots are more to the fore, my own favourite being ”ËœPeople Come And People Go’ ”“ solid drum pattern, clean vocals, acoustic lead all bundled together in a new wave style. ”ËœWhat’s The Use’ is firmly in new wave territory and benefits from the subtle addition of perhaps a Farsi keyboard.

”ËœCowboys And Indians’ is purely acoustic and instantly suggests that The Spivs have a few Billy Bragg CD’s in their collection ”“ subject matter is in similar territory and questions people’s lack of forgiveness.

If you want original music then you will have to look further; however if you are in the mood for an album of solid early punk gems played with the energy of label mates Billy Childish then ”ËœBlack And White Memories’ is for you.

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Phil Newall is from The Wirral - he earns his living not writing about music nor playing music...though sorely wishes he could. He was fortunate enough to see many of the first generation punk bands when they played the U18's matinee shows at Eric's, Liverpool. As an attendee at Eric's he was exposed to punk rock, dub reggae, art rock, and all manner of weirdness; as a customer at Probe Records he was variously served and scowled at by Pete Wylie and Pete Burns - he has written for Record Collector, Whisperin & Hollerin, and Spiral Scratch and wanted to write a book detailing the Liverpool punk scene; however with 'Head-On' Julian Cope beat him to it...and frankly did a much better job.


  1. It would be original if i stuck a microphone up my ass and screamed doesnt make it good though does it? Thee spivs not original? boo hoo. there fucking good instead!! great review!


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